O Lucky Man!

O Lucky Man!

Joyce Lau

From November 3rd to November 21st
Opening November 5th, 2010 from 7-10pm

O Lucky Man! is a series of photo-based cut-outs that delve into varying ideas of what constitutes ‘luck.’ The hypnotic curves of tapering circles draw you in, leading your eyes to a sharp focal point. A young girl vacantly stands out from a crowd. A horse runs swiftly. A woman finds a fifty dollar bill on the ground – or is her good fortune from an unknown source? Utilizing two shades of gray paper, and one sheet of black paper, Lau overlays the sheets and hand cuts details out to create an image that resembles a black and white photograph. In tune with the aesthetic of her medium, the theme of ‘luck’ forays into the many layers of the human heart and of human thought. Joyce Lau is a graduate of Ryerson University and is currently based in Toronto.

Joyce Lau would like to thank the assistance of the Ontario Arts Council

Artist Statement

My desire to understand ‘luck’ stems to when I was a child and used to wish that I was born a boy. I used to believe that it was my bad luck that made me a girl. The traditional Chinese opinion that boys are considered good luck, and girls are considered of lesser value, was also familiar territory. As I grew up, I slowly began to appreciate being a woman. Yet, I continue to find that society has its concerns focused on favouring the male species. From the back of Toronto’s Eye Weekly and NOW Magazine with their extensive pages on female escorts, to even cosmetic surgery, wherein a woman’s self-esteem may be raised with false pretences of physical beauty, the ultimate purpose has been to appeal to or to appease males.

In addition, I wanted to examine the relationship between luck and love. Finding money on the ground is considered lucky, but how about finding true love? Where does the saying ‘getting lucky’ fit in? What about the concepts that surround faith and luck, does having faith bring good luck?

“Unknown Uncle” is a family portrait that I have recreated from a photograph found in my grandfather’s photo album. The title refers to the fact that I never met my young uncle, because he was randomly stabbed in his early twenties, and died in my father’s arms. The alternate title for this piece is: “before our luck ran out…”

O Lucky Man! is intended to stimulate our common understanding of what we consider important or fortunate/unfortunate. Often, we do not appreciate what we have that is ‘lucky’ until we are faced with something that is ‘unlucky.’ The immense attentiveness involved in the paper-cutting process also works in tandem with my theme to comment on latent inclinations and the existence of a certain obsessive melancholy.


This exhibition is generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.